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24 February 2003 The Kepler mission's focal plane
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The primary goal of Kepler, a recently selected Discovery mission, is to search for terrestrial size planets orbiting other stars using the transit method. To accomplish this goal, a space-based photometer is being developed that employs a 0.95-meter Schmidt camera incorporating a large focal plane array (FPA). The FPA is populated with 42 large format custom CCD detectors with integral field flattening optics covering a 100 square degree field of view. The FPA will measure the precise relative intensity of approximately 100,000 main sequence stars nearly continuously over the mission's 4-year lifetime to search for the small changes caused by planetary transits. All critical electronics are housed immediately behind the FPA, which yields a low noise compact design that is both robust and fault tolerant. The design and development of the FPA, its detectors, its main systems issues, and their relationship to photometric precision will be discussed along with results from detailed performance models.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Edward W. Dunham, John C. Geary, Robert H. Philbrick, Christopher K. Stewart, and David G. Koch "The Kepler mission's focal plane", Proc. SPIE 4854, Future EUV/UV and Visible Space Astrophysics Missions and Instrumentation, (24 February 2003);


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